On the heels of Blackberry’s announcement of Alicia Keys as their new Global Creative Director, and talks of other Celebrity Creative Directors (CCDs) like Justin Timberlake (Bud Light Platinum), Lady Gaga (Polaroid) and Will.I.Am (Intel), I can’t help but wonder if the application of that concept can work in the Caribbean
Will consumers of Blue Waters take a CCD seriously, or will it be dismissed it as an over-glorified Brand Ambassadorship? Have companies like Blackberry simply swapped the term Endorser of Creative Director? Or is it something more? Could it be that the noteworthy creative contributions made by these celebrities in their careers can be seen as valid parts of a professional portfolio that, in fact, qualifies them for the posts, famous or not.
Consider, here in Trinidad and Tobago, Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe 2008, served as VP of Investment Promotions Division at e-TecK; Did we think that she was under-qualified for the position because of her celebrity status. What about singer and child star Wendell Constantine? He was named BG Trinidad and Tobago’s Communications and Brand Manager in 2008. Or Colin Lucas, General Manager at the Port of Port of Spain, who’s 1991 “Dollar Wine” is still a major hit. Certainly these celebrities weren’t hired on the basis of their popularity. Or were they?
I’m playing with the school of thought that the same creativity, ambition and talent that made them celebrities in the first place are the attributes that landed them the high profile corporate sector jobs. Very prevalent in Trinidad and Tobago is a sort of professional duality, which implies that our culture prepares us for success in corporate arena, and our own creativity drives us to make success in cultural circumstances. So we may find that the very ambitious student who has a knack for playing Pan may find herself growing as an entertainer at the same rate as she grows as financial sector professional.
We also can’t hide from the fact that there is leverage to be had from hiring a celebrity.Whether the celebrity status of Colin Lucas can be likened to that of Justin Timberlake is subjective, but it’s my genuine belief that star power can be applied to all aspects of a career, and it is possible for a star to shine brightly in more than one direction. It remains to be seen whether the likes of Kees Dieffenthaller or Marvin “Swappy” Davis will channel their above average creativity into the development and promotion of one of our local brands, as opposed to just aligning their image.